News that Matters
Saturday July 26th 2014

On Sale:

Follow the Blog

Archives

Rant & Rave 2/10/11

TOO MUCH PAPERWORK Real estate agents, and their sellers, are under a county mandate requiring all sellers of property to disclose that there is an airport nearby, and what noise level the airport is in. This form is such a waste of everyone’s time.

All people can look on any map, and see all airports. Most people have a smart-phone with GPS that show the runway’s direction. For those living under an imaginary rock, our airport is in the center of Pensacola.

For 100 years, we have enjoyed the United States Navy onboard NAS Pensacola. The Navy, Air Force, Army, and most military, have propeller planes, bi-wings, and now jets. These machines make noise. Thankfully, this is not Valparaiso, Fla., where most of the residents receive Air Force retirement but don’t want the airplanes near them.

When I hear a jet, I hear freedom.

Real estate sales people are in an environment that causes us to work harder to finally make a sale, then the county comes up with a three page, notary signed and witnessed, document that is as useless as mud grips on a Cadillac. The car will still move, but the ride is rough. This is true in our industry, with needless forms like airport environs.

“What is an airport environ,” a customer asked me before signing the useless paper. I explained to him the county had one nut that had a hallucination one day that airplanes were noisy. That guy probably came to Pensacola on a jet.

Trains are all over the place. They are more noisy than airports, and stop traffic for long periods of time. No train-discloser person has thought it up yet to force agents to disclose the fact that we have trains, they are noisy, and they will crush you when you stop on their track.

Please, let’s get back to common sense and do away with yet another useless form. Common sense is not so common, huh? Please put a stop to this form.

—Al Ingram, Pensacola
KUDOS Two great articles in the IN: Deluna Fest (Independent News, “Rock, Paper, Sand,” Feb. 10) and the Firefighters (Independent News, “Budget Woes Handicap Fire Service,” Feb. 10). Very well written and informative.

—John Asmar, Pensacola
GROWTH AND PROSPERITY Most cities in the U.S. have operated on the assumption that growth is inherently beneficial and that more and faster growth will benefit local residents economically. Local growth is often cited as the cure for urban ailments, especially the need for local jobs. But does the empirical evidence show that growth is actually providing these benefits?

To test claims about the benefits of local growth, I examined the relationship between growth and prosperity in U.S. metro areas. This study looked at the 100 largest U.S. metro areas (representing 66 percent of the total U.S. population) using the latest federal data for the 2000-09 period. The average annual population growth rate of each metro area was compared with unemployment rate, per capita income and poverty rate using graphical and statistical analysis.

The “conventional wisdom” that growth generates economic and employment benefits was not supported by the data. The study found that those metro areas that have fared the best had the lowest growth rates. Even metro areas with stable or declining populations tended to fare better than fast-growing areas in terms of basic measures of economic well-being.

Some of the remarkable findings:

• Faster-growing areas did not have lower unemployment rates.

• Faster-growing areas tended to have lower per capita income than slower-growing areas. Per capita income in 2009 tended to decline almost $2,500 for each 1 percent increase in growth rate.

• Residents of faster-growing areas had greater income declines during the recession.

• Faster-growing areas tended to have higher poverty rates.

The 25 slowest-growing and 25 fastest-growing areas were compared. The 25 slowest-growing metro areas outperformed the 25 fastest-growing in every category and averaged $8,455 more in per capita personal income in 2009. They also had lower unemployment and poverty rates.

Another remarkable finding is that stable metro areas (those with little or no growth) did relatively well. Statistically speaking, residents of an area with no growth over the nine-year period tended to have 43 percent more income gain than an area growing at 3 percent a year. Undoubtedly this offers a ray of hope that stable, sustainable communities may be perfectly viable—even prosperous—within our current economic system.

While certain businesses prosper from growth, apparently the balance of the community does not. The statistics showing that fast-growing areas tend to have lower and declining incomes indicate that any gains by the businesses that directly benefit from growth are more than offset by losses to the rest of the local population. In other words, a small segment of the local population may benefit from faster growth, but the larger population tends to see their prosperity decline.

Population growth tends to be directly linked to urban growth. There is a close, linear relationship between the two, as more people require more housing units and more commercial buildings for employment and shopping.

Public policies and plans regarding urban growth typically involve tradeoffs between economic, environmental and social impacts. Local residents may view a policy to encourage land development or growth as negatively affecting their quality of life through increased traffic congestion, environmental quality impacts, loss of farm and forest lands and loss of amenity values (such as tranquility, sense of community and open space). They may also be concerned about higher taxes to fund the cost of the new public infrastructure (roads, schools, sewer and water systems, etc.) required to serve growth. However, the prospect that new growth will bring jobs and economic prosperity that may benefit local residents is often viewed as compelling enough to outweigh these costs.

So if growth is actually not providing these benefits, then the decision-making balance shifts towards the fiscal, environmental and quality-of-life impacts. With greater awareness of the relationship between growth and prosperity, perhaps we will see a shift in our focus toward making our cities better places, not just bigger places.

Most U.S. cities have been actively pursuing growth with all the policy and financial tools at their disposal under the presumption that they are fostering local prosperity. As U.S. cities seek a path out of the recession, this study suggests that new economic development strategies will be needed that do not rely so heavily on growth.

A link to the full study, “Relationship between Growth and Prosperity in 100 Largest U.S. Metropolitan Areas,” can be found at fodorandassociates.com.

—Eben Fodor, Fodor & Associates, Eugene, Ore.